Missouri is falling far behind the times when it comes to broadband internet in the state. Rural communities without broadband access will find themselves economically crippled according to a new report by communications experts.

Press Release from Missouri News Service

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Many Americans are used to fast Internet connections, but Missouri is lagging behind. An Internet testing site SpeedMatters.org has found most Missouri residents, especially in rural areas, are still dealing with slow speed. As a result, a new report from the Center for Rural Strategies says small-town economies can lose out on opportunities available to those with high-speed connections.

Report author Dr. Sharon Strover says that a slow Internet connection can hurt a small business.

“If you’ve ever tried to pull up a graphic image on a dial-up connection, you are waiting for a really long time. That means that in order to do something as simple as ordering a part, you are at just a huge disadvantage.”

The media watchdog group report concludes that in a “sink-or-swim world,” communities without high-speed access will sink.

Dr. Strover says there are some encouraging signs.

“I believe that the FCC and other federal agencies are taking this far more seriously than they ever did. The money that the stimulus funding pumped into broadband should help.”

The FCC is expected to report this year, as it did for 2010, that broadband providers are not expanding their services in a timely and satisfactory fashion.